How To Start And Run An Online Business
Article: 04. Consider Your Passions First When Deciding On Your Online Business
To help us sort out which niche you should enter, we will need to evaluate what your interests are. I start here because most people would rather do something they enjoy than do something they do not enjoy ,and have to be forced to do. Odds are you will more likely succeed, if you are enjoying what you do. I don't know about you but I am at that stage in my life, as a lot of us are, where if I don't enjoy doing it then I won't do it. Period!
I'm a firm believer in following your passion, whether that be for gardening (start a herb and spice business or cultivate cuttings for distribution via mail order), lead-lighting (design and create stained glass lampshades), accounting (run a home-based small business accountancy service) or website design. It doesn't matter whether other people are equally as passionate about what you're passionate about. It's YOUR passion that counts and it's YOUR passion that will propel you towards success. In other words, do something you love to do. Make your work your joy and you won't be able to help but succeed.
If you start with something you already have a good knowledge base in, you can concentrate less on research and more on developing the skills needed to market your products.
It is an absolute must that you are able to educate your customers about your products. You need to be able to become an expert so that the people you are trying to sell products to can feel comfortable coming to you to solve their problems.
To be successful in an online business, you need to be the best. Now, that doesn't mean the best overall, or even the best in your general category. What it means is being the best in your specific category ... your niche.
If the niche you're interested in is already occupied, can you be better than the best in that niche? If so, go for it. If not, find another niche!
Pay particular attention to what interests you the most. It's all very well identifying a niche but if it holds absolutely no interest for you, you won't put in the time and effort to turn that niche to your financial advantage. So, go with what interests you first and foremost even if you have more experience and expertise in a different area. What you lack in experience and expertise you can learn and your natural enthusiasm will do the rest.
It's one thing to know a lot about something or to be good at it. It's quite another to enjoy it enough to want to make it your life's work. So, remove from consideration anything that you don't really, really like doing or which plain doesn't interest you. No matter how good you are at it. If you're lucky enough to like what you're good at, great! As a general rule, stick with what you know and what you love.
Ok, if you still haven't found a feasible home business idea, review the following activities that have proven marketable for others and weigh them against your "likes and passions" and previous professional experience.
* Crafts - pottery, ceramics, leadlighting
* Health and Fitness - aerobics instructor, network marketing
* for a health products company, home health care
* Household Services - cleaning, gardening, shopping
* Professional Services - attorney, architect, interior designer
* Personal Services - make-up artist, hairdresser
* Business Services - business plan writer, meeting planner, virtual assistant
* Wholesale Sales - antique dealer, dropshipper
* Retail Sales - children's clothing, widgets
* Computers - web design, internet training.
You get the idea. If none of these give you an idea review the previous lesson in this series where I provided an extensive list of possible online businesses.
The best place we can look at is your hobbies. By definition a hobby is something you enjoy doing or following. Do you have a hobby that has the potential for running a business within? Let me give you an example of running a business within a hobby niche.
Before I cite this example I have to disclose that it is not me. It is my hobby and that is why I know about it. But I followed a different path based on what I understood in the early days (1996) of the internet. I became a web programmer. That is still a good way to go for some but not for everyone. This example is based on my knowledge of businesses that have learned to prosper within this niche. By the way I will use this example in future articles as well.
My hobby is listening to and the collecting of Old Time Radio programs. That's right, those radio programs from our youth (in my case anyway) where Superman went "up up and away," The Lone Ranger went "Hi Yo Silver!" and the phrase "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows," was on everyone's lips.
I'm sure you are wondering how can someone turn that kind of hobby into an online business? Well a lot of people do and have. Just go to ebay and do a search for "OTR Shows" and as I wrote this I did that search and found over 800 auctions for people selling CD's of episodes from these popular shows.
Even outside of ebay you will find people selling these CD's of episodes. Just do a google search on this same phrase "OTR Shows." I just did that search too, with 2,500,000 plus results. Some of these are just enthusiasts trying to develop or participate in the community interest with their hobby but most have some sort of business model. Developing community interest in a niche is one of the best techniques for generating interest in a product and is used by most niche based businesses.
The beauty of this particular niche is not only is it digital (the shows are in digital audio formats such as mp3). These programs are over 50 and in some cases as many as 80 years old yet still are very entertaining to listen to and the content is, for the most part, free of copyrights for they long ago expired or were never applied for to begin with. Another good reason is that there are literally thousands of these shows freely available.
The entrepreneurs within this niche take advantage of all these assets and package or repackage these shows and make them available in unique ways within the community marketing method. The "OTR Shows" niche, like most niches has people who are enthusiast in sub niches such as science fiction, mystery, (my favorite shows are the Sherlock Holmes shows especially those where Holmes was performed by Basil Rathbone), comedy, drama etc.
It is these sub niches where some of the businesses focus their "community building" marketing efforts. Here you find your most passionate enthusiasts and if you can package your products in such a way as to endear your clients. For example if you take the Science Fiction sub niche you could create a CD that only has juvenile radio shows such as Space Patrol and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet or Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, etc.
You might say the "OTR Shows" niche is all filled up and if you look at the google search results you would have a point. But even within this niche people are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to deliver the product. For example there are sites that have thousands of shows inside member areas where their subscribers can download shows al carte instead of buying single purposed CD's. In other words they get exactly the show or episodes they want and not a lot of other shows they are not interested in.
One final and uniquely different example. There is an online radio station called Yesterday USA where Old Time Radio Programming is streaming 24/7. If your thinking you might could be an enthusiast yourself, here is the web address: www.yesterdayusa.com. The owner, Bill Bragg, is a radio announcer and uses the site to sell his service as an announcer for commercials or as a narrator, actor, on air program announcer etc.
Bill Bragg started this radio station of old time radio programs years before the internet by broadcasting through local radio stations and then through satellite services. When the internet came along he went on to feed his radio program through the internet.
Hopefully, this article has been food for thought and given you some inspirational ideas that you can use to start an online business that can come from your passion or hobby. Remember, you will have a much better chance of succeeding if your business is derived from your hobby or passion.
In the Next article I will discuss deciding on a business model derived from your life's experiences.
04. Consider Your Passions First When Deciding On Your Online Business.
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